It’s too bad. As the second book from the Twice Told Tales series by author Olivia Snowe (and illustrator Michelle Lamoreaux), this fairy tale re-telling was better than the first book I read from this series (that was the Little Red Riding Hood one and you can find it here).
The plotting was better with this one. The characterization didn’t leave a bad taste in my mouth, and though the external conflict was worthy a few eye rolls the ending was plausible and I could swallow it comfortably.
But let’s talk characters:
We got 15-year-old Belle Beaumont who has an obnoxious father — the guy was more of a butt-hole than the original fairy tale version or Disney’s take on the tale. I promise you’ll feel no sympathy for Belle’s father, Jack Beaumont.
Belle I liked.
She was spunky, optimistic, yet she had her morals all-lined up and that, IMO, made her a far better character than Scarlet in the LRRH Twice Told re-telling. Like I would actually want to meet this girl and have a chat with her and ask her why her parents thought it fit to call her ‘Belle’ when her last name already means ‘beautiful mountain’ (<– with the extent of my French)?
Carlo Mostro*, a.k.a. the Beast, was also pretty cool. Like Belle’s he is a 15-year-old boy whose become a summer shut-in since a tragedy befell his family. With his mother in and out of his life, Carlo becomes anti-social and mean. The thing is I LOVED watching Belle slip past his defenses without so much as saying a word at first: he just thinks that’s she’s really pretty and why not?
Then, of course, it goes the cliched way and I’m sure you can piece that together as it doesn’t stray too much from the original plot.
You have Belle whose physical beauty matches her internal beauty. And there’s Carlo, the misunderstood Beast. Disney added the twist of the cursed servants, and we get only one “servant” in this, the Mostro family chef.
If you can’t piece it together, might I suggest picking up Beauty and the Basement. This installment in the Twice Told Tales series is fantastic and should be shared!
I only wish that there was an epic transformation at the end, instead of a boring old change of heart. 😉 There is rain at the end, just no fingertip ‘light-show’ transformation.
*NOTE: Because it was bugging me, and it read like ‘monster’ I looked up Carlo’s surname. ‘Mostro’ does mean ‘monster’ in Italian. What a last name! Haha.